The local's Guide for events,
places to go, and things to do.
EDITOR: Andrea Kirk
Michele Hunter
Mark Share
Matt Share
Josh Herz

By Nancy Mills


Okay. We all know that malls are crowded with sticky fingered kids, teenagers with Ipods glued to their ears, and mom's looking pretty frazzled. Not to mention the non-breathable air. And department stores - don't ask. They are big and often times unfriendly. I've even seen non-shopper types start to hyper-ventilate.

Well, do I have a solution for Los Angelenos. BIG TIME.

Hello everybody, I'm Nancy Mills, better known as the fearless leader of Spirited Woman, an ever-growing on-line and off-line women's empowerment community. I teach Spirited Woman Workshops in LA and beyond and lead Spirited Woman Events, mostly in LA. Recently, I took seven "spirited women" on a glorious "Shop 'Til You Drop Holiday Fashion District Walk."

You see, I'm big on adventure. Having fun. And finding HUGE bargains. Plus, for years now, I've bought 90% of my clothes in Downtown'sFashion District and I wanted to share my favorite shops, the hidden secrets of the best way to shop in downtown LA and my love of the area.

Every time,I go downtown, I feel as though I've taken a brief holiday - I love the smells, sights of vendors with push carts, FRESH AIR, and I find the small shops - from women's boutiques to toy stores to fabric shops - inviting and the people who run them actually friendly. What a concept.

So, here we are in front of one of my favorite shops for women, Le Petit Paris, located at 934 S. Los Angeles Street. I've shopped there for years. David, the one wearing the Santa Claus hat, is a master salesman. If you can't buy a dress, pair of slacks, or a sweater from him - well then, you are not destined to buy that day. The clothes there are fashionable, trendy, yet REALLY affordable. I've often bought sweaters there for less than $30. They also own Maje, another hip, affordable shop with great merchandise, right down the block at 916-2 Los Angeles Street.

Here's some shopping tips. One of the THE BEST blocks to shop in the Fashion district is on Los Angeles Street between Ninth and Olympic Blvd. The stores there are awesome. STAY AWAY from Santee Alley. Even though it is heavily promoted, many of the vendors there sell illegitimate items. Knock offs of knock offs. And you will find many of them going in and out of business.

What you also need to know when you shop downtown. Park on Olympic Blvd. a few blocks west of Los Angeles Street - the parking is MUCH LESS. Shop with cash and credit cards. Most of the stores DO NOT accept checks. NEVER use one of the free-standing ATM machines to get cash - it is a known fact that criminals hack into them. And PLEASE NOTE that once you buy something in almost EVERY STORE it is non-returnable. That's why some of the prices are so cheap.

And speaking of cheap - can you negotiate item prices? Yes and No. But, mostly yes. It typically depends on the quantity that you buy.

As our shopping experience continued I took everybody to my ALL TIME FAVORITE accessory store - Kukuly's, named after a Peruvian Bird, located at 915 Santee Street (Suite G) right across from Subway. They sell the most unusual belts, hats, purses, and jewelry to-die-for. Just walking in there is an experience and you will find items that you won't find any place else, all at beyond reasonable prices. Kay bought the red beret for only $10!

We had an absolutely fantastic shopping adventure that day. In two and a half hours, we laughed, got good exercise, shopped with gusto, and saved a ton of money. And we all realized what a hidden treasure the Fashion District is for the City of Los Angeles. A must-do anytime of the year!

If you'd like to join me for another Fashion Walk, I will be leading one on December 8, from 10-12:30. You can go towww.thespiritedwoman.com to sign up (or call 888-428-1234) and check out other Spirited Woman Workshops and Events. We're all about "Creative Fun for Inspired Women." I also invite you to subscribe to the freeSpirited Woman Newsletter- it's fun and chock full of inspiration and information.

-- Nancy Mills - aka The Spirited Woman (nancymills@thespiritedwoman.com)

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